We pushed deeper into Adventure this morning. Men shared many incredible insights and one man, a powerful testimony about his father wound, his marriage and just how much Manschool has meant to him … “My wife loves that I am coming to Manschool.” Amen to that.
We opened with this clip that we’ve seen before from the movie “Never Cry Wolf”…
We ended with this awesome clip from Gerber knives that challenges our “desire” to live life “safely” …
Rosie flies Tyler, a bookworm who has never been camping, into Alaska’s remote Blackstone Valley. Rosie is questioning him on the “why?” “Why are going Tyler? What is your purpose? What are you looking for out here?” He tells him “The gold isn’t in the Valley. It’s sitting at home in the living room, facing the boob tube, bored to death. Bored to death Tyler.” He goes on later – after the plane’s engine dies in midflight – and says to him, “How do you beat boredom Tyler? Adventure. Adventure Tyler.”
Too many men forsake their dreams because they aren’t willing to risk, or fear they aren’t up to the challenge, or are never told that those desires deep in their heart are good. Matthew 25 the parable of the talents – there is nothing about this servant that talks about his ability or his dream or his desire. All we see if fear and a lack of trust. He buries the talent. He focuses on control. The soul of a man isn’t made for controlling things; he’s made for adventure. You are made for adventure.
When God set man on this earth, He gave him a blank canvas on which to paint. He gave him a world to explore, to build and to conquer and a creation to care for. God never revoked that. That offer is there for you too. If you had the permission to do what you really want to do, what would that be? This can be a career or a ministry but it can also be other things … taking up hunting, learning to paint, taking wood working classes, riding a bike, hiking the Appalachian Trail … what would you do?
Don’t ask “how?” “How?” kills desire. It cuts it off at the knees. Not “how?” but “What?” What makes you come alive? What is written upon your heart? Your true calling is written upon your heart and you discover it when you enter the frontier of your deep desires. When your life becomes an adventure, it gives you a purpose.
This is frontier stuff here guys. It isn’t “safe”. You can’t control it. It moves you. It stirs something deep inside you. There are no boundaries around it. Remember that quote, “The spiritual life cannot be made suburban. It is always frontier and we who live in it must accept and even rejoice that it remains untamed.”
We must move our spirituality away from the law and rules keeping. There is no life there. A dutiful man is a bored man. The goal of our faith as a man isn’t a no booze, no cuss, no smoke man who serves as an usher, does vacation bible school and follows his wife to yard sales on Saturdays. Flushing out all that is wild from a man – and some of it needs to be flushed – has the effect of turning a stallion into a gelding. Gelding – a castrated horse. Castration eliminates the hormonally driven behavior associated with a stallion and allows a male horse to be calmer and better-behaved, making the animal quieter, gentler and potentially more suitable as an everyday working animal.
There you go – You are now “more suitable” to society. No, the gelding, rules-keeping, spiritual law abiding man … we need to move away from that as the road map and we need to move toward being men who are able to live by the Spirit.
Celtic Christians had an interesting term for the Holy Spirit. They called it “Ah Geadh-Glas”, or the wild goose. They were on to something for the Holy Spirit is something that cannot be tracked or tamed.
Pastor and author Mark Batterson believes Christians spend too much time worrying about making the right decision. He thinks that if people would just allow the Holy Spirit to lead them completely they would be better off.
A few years ago I was reading about Celtic Christianity and discovered that they had an interesting name for the Holy Spirit. They called it the Wild Goose. When I first heard that I thought that it sounded sacrilegious. But the more I thought about it I realized what a great description of what it means to live a spirit led life. It is like a wild goose chase. You aren’t going to know where you are going most of the time but that also goes by another name – adventure. In my experience, take the Holy Spirit out of the equation of your life and it spells boring. Add it into the equation of your life and you never know where you are going to go, what you are going to do, or who you are going to meet. The name comes out of that ancient understanding of who the Holy Spirit is.
With that in mind, what does it mean to rediscover the untamed nature of God?
I am a pastor so I eat and breathe the Church. But I think what happens in a lot of churches is that we try to tame people in the name of Christ. What we end up with is a very domesticated kind of experience with God but when I read the Gospels it was very uncivilized and undomesticated. What I would like to think is that Jesus didn’t just die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. When I pronounce a benediction at the end of our services I would like to think that I am releasing dangerous people back into their natural habitat to wreak havoc on the enemy. Wild Goose Chase is really a book about unleashing people to really experience the true reality of what the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives.
I’m looking at these apes in their cages and I am thinking I wonder if the Church does to Christians what zoos do to animals. We end up in a cage and it is not the true experience.
Fear is a big one for people. The enemy’s tactics haven’t really changed since the Garden of Eden. He wants to use guilt to keep us focused on the past and use fear to keep us from really living by faith. I talk a lot about how we can face those fears, step out in faith, and do what God has called us to do. I think one of the cages that is kind of a subtle thing is the Cage of Routine. Routines are normal, natural, healthy things. Most of us take a shower and brush our teeth every day. That is a good routine. Spiritual disciplines are routines. That is a good thing. But once routines become routine you need to change your routine. Otherwise, you will end up in this place where you are kind of going through the motions spiritually. One of the things I share in the book is change of pace plus change of place equals change of perspective. It is a very simple thing but in my walk with Christ I have found that if I just simply change things up a little bit, go to a different place, or even change my version of my Bible, or do things at a different time, it just kind of gives me a fresh experience with God. It keeps it real.
If we aren’t careful we can land in that Cage of Guilt and get so focused on what we have done wrong in the past that we don’t have any emotional or spiritual energy to really think about what God has for us in the future. The Cage of Guilt is a dangerous one because you have to keep coming back to the foot of the Cross, confessing your sin, receiving that forgiveness. Then you need to set back out on that adventure that God has called us to.
Can people live by faith and be bored?
I think it is impossible. Faith and boredom are antonyms. A guy named Soren Kierkegaard said that boredom is the root of all evil. That is a profound statement. You have to think about it. I think faith is the small mustard seed of opportunities every day. For example, am I going to love this person? Am I going to share my faith with this person? Am I going to pray that little prayer? It really is a daily thing where you seize those little mustard seed opportunities and then see what God does. That is where the adventure comes from.
Why do you think people start out in life pursuing a passion but then end up settling for a paycheck? You write about this.
This is the Cage of Responsibility. It is a subtle one because what happens is at some point a lot of us turn our responsibilities into excuses to why we cannot live by faith. I call it “responsible irresponsibility”. It is living our lives in a way that the true God ordained passions. Sometimes this gets buried beneath those responsibilities. We end up just living a life of mediocrity. What I really want to challenge people to is to identify what are those God ordained passions? What has He called you to? Get back in touch with those and have this challenge of wanting do die doing what you love to do. I do not want to just arrive safely at death. I want to live by faith and do the things God has called me to do.
Abraham is the patron saint of Wild Goose chasers. It says in Hebrews 11 that he went even though he did not know where he was going.
Where are you living defensively? It might be in a marriage, maybe with your kids, it might be spiritually, it might be occupationally. Where are you playing it safe? Where is the will of God for you? How is God calling you to step out in faith? I am hoping that it is enough of an impetus to kind of be that push for them. I want people to realize that they should be playing offense with their life. I want them to play offense for the Kingdom of God. The wild goose will show them the way.
The spiritual life is not suburban. The wild goose cannot be contained. It is always frontier. You will not know where the next step will be. We must rejoice that it remains untamed. The realm of God is dangerous. You must enter into it and not just seek information about it. There are no formulas for God and there are no formulas for the man who follows God. Modern Christianity is obsessed with formulas “seven steps to a highly effective marriage”. The problem is that formulas removes any real conversation with God. If you rely on a formula, you won’t need to talk to God. The first step toward freedom is letting go of control. A man is never more of a man that when he embraces an adventure beyond his control or when he walks into a battle he isn’t sure of winning.
The only way to live in this adventure – with all its danger and unpredictability and immensely high stakes – is in an ongoing, intimate relationship with God. The control we seek is an illusion. Far better to give it up in exchange for God’s offer of companionship. Set aside the formulas and enter into an intimate conversation with the Father.
Our whole journey into authentic masculinity centers on those cool-of-the-day talks with God. Simple questions change hassles to adventures. The events of your life become opportunities for initiation. “What are you teaching me here God? What are you asking me to do? What in my heart are you speaking to?”